Equiva Health, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare providers are using affordable broadband funding to enhance their services and improve the reach of their programs. This funding has allowed these organizations to connect with patients and members in ways that were previously not possible.
With more than 750 Wi-Fi-enabled tablets funded by the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, the partners aim to increase affordable broadband access and provide psychosocial oncology care to the underserved.
Equiva Health, a Texas-based nonprofit organization, has been able to expand its telehealth services with the help of affordable broadband funding. The organization provides primary care and behavioral health services to underserved communities in Texas. With the rise of COVID-19, Equiva Health had to find new ways to reach patients who could not come to their clinics. The affordable broadband funding allowed the organization to improve its telehealth capabilities, including video conferencing and remote patient monitoring. This has enabled Equiva Health to continue providing critical healthcare services to its patients during the pandemic.
Similarly, Gilda’s Club, a cancer support organization with chapters throughout the United States, has used affordable broadband funding to expand its virtual programs. Gilda’s Club offers support groups, educational workshops, and social events to cancer patients and their families. With the pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, Gilda’s Club has had to shift its services online. The affordable broadband funding has allowed the organization to upgrade its technology and offer more virtual programs to reach more people in need.
Through Equiva, Gilda’s Club’s eligible household enrollees get FCC discounts of up to $30 per month, and up to $75 per month on tribal lands, toward internet service as well as a tablet device preloaded with access to virtual cancer support groups, healthy lifestyle education, cancer treatment information and other resources, the organization said.
“We are reaching out to our provider partners to make them aware of the Affordable Connectivity Program and our new ACP-focused initiative,” said Katherine Todd, Gilda’s Club Twin Cities’ executive director, in an email to Healthcare IT News.
To get providers engaged and referring potentially ACP-eligible patients to Gilda’s Club to apply for the federal program, Todd said they explain that the initiative supports efforts to extend heathcare’s reach beyond in-patient settings with improved access to virtual offerings.
Healthcare providers, including hospitals and clinics, have also benefited from affordable broadband funding. With the rise of telemedicine, healthcare providers have had to improve their internet connectivity to offer remote consultations and telehealth services to patients. Affordable broadband funding has helped these organizations to upgrade their infrastructure, including purchasing new equipment and software. This has allowed healthcare providers to reach more patients, particularly those in rural and underserved areas who may not have had access to healthcare services before.
In conclusion, affordable broadband funding has been crucial in expanding access to healthcare services and support programs. Equiva Health, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare providers are among the organizations leveraging this funding to enhance their services and reach more people. As the importance of telehealth and virtual programs continue to grow, affordable broadband funding will be essential in ensuring that these services are accessible to everyone.